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Herbal Detoxification

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Has anyone ever done a herbal detoxification for a liver cleanse? How long did you stay on it?
What other foods did you eat during the detox or did you just fast?

I am looking for any experiences, pro or cons. Also if anyone knows any good herbal web sites
please let me know.

I am not currently pregnant or nursing and my doctor recently recommended a herbal detox. I
see a Homeopath next week but was looking for some information in the meantime!
post #2 of 21
"Detox" is a myth. I would seriously question the opinion of any practitioner who recommends this. Also for the vast majority of people fasting is never a good choice. It is a very outdated thing.
post #3 of 21
I don't know anything about the subject, so could you explain why detox is a myth?
post #4 of 21
Isn't cranberry supposed to be a good detox agent? I know that is one reason they put it in the vits I take/sell.

How is detox a myth?
post #5 of 21

detoxing and fasting both hinge on an old medical premise (circa 1900s and before) about the body building up waste. This is simply not true, in general. We do build up those nasties in our arteries from improper diets, so, in a way, oats, olives and walnuts may be called "cleansers" (with science backing them up) if eaten regularly. However, we do not clog our intestines, as the old medical profession once believed. Ditto for the necessity of liver cleansing, fasting etc. The energy spent on these measures (that carry some risk) is better directed at eating a good diet, in moderation. It's true that "cleansing" and fasting may feel invigorating, acting similarly to altering the state of consciousness, but that feeling should not be confused with improvement in health. As for clearing the system from environmental pollutants, noone has ever proved these measures do that, and it's highly unlikely.

In a diff context detox is used to promote products that help pass a drug test. I have heard success stories, and the back-up guarantee is usually 150-200%, but if you think of the conditions under which these tests are taken, about many people not asking for their refund after bad test, etc. it's easy to see how they can be both useless and commercially viable.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
I do believe that toxins build up in our bodies. That is why I don't put pesticides on my lawn, don't expose my self to cigarette smoke, drink coffee, eat organic foods etc. I know I am not alone in this thinking.

In my original post I was not referring to enemas or colonic cleansing to reduce waste or for weight loss. I guess I should have been more clear in my post I just thought there would be folks on this website who were familar with what I was talking about. I was refering to the use of herbs, just as many foods and even water is used, to cleanse the body.

Certainly I agree the best way that the body does a pretty good job of cleansing and purifying itself. So really if you are making sure you are in good physical shape, if you stop putting toxins -junk foods, drugs, chemicals- into your body and focus on good nutrition, regular exercise, you probably won't feel the need to detoxify. I know there are many (including my well respected forward thinking doctor who embraces alternative medicines) who think that the use of herbs are a nice complement to a regular detoxifying life style. I was talking with the Manager of my local health food store and he told me of the benefits of a weekend herbal detox to give your digestive system a rest after for example a vacation where you were eating unusual foods or after medical drug treatments for cancer or even when you feel you have been exposed to an environmental toxin.

As for fasting, it is not at all outdated except perhaps as a tool for weightloss. It can be very effect to fast at the onset of an illness such as the flu or a cold. I had cancer 5 years ago and my very main stream oncologist recommended juice fast which consisted of 1 day water only...2 days fruit juice.2 days organic fruit...1 day water. I continue to fast every second month to this day I find it an invigorating experience. Will fasting or the use of herbs for detoxifying my body cure me of cancer or make me feel better? That remains to be seen, but there is research that backs up the use of herbs.
post #7 of 21
Triciamommy, when you write "EVEN water is used, to cleanse the body", I think you are putting things upside down a bit. Water IS the main cleanser of the body. Pure and simple. As for the other things being beneficial as cleansers, very controversial and remains to be seen. Health food store chain managers are not divested parties, they carry a lot of expensive products for detoxing, so I definitely would not go there for advice.

I think you are going in a far better direction limiting exposures to toxins, like avoiding pesticides. You are not detoxing though - you are avoiding contamination.
post #8 of 21
I, too, believe our bodies absorb pollutants from our surrounding environment and the foods we put directly into our bodies. There are certain chemicals/compunds/elements that our bodies cannot process or eliminate and some of them become stored in our tissue, fat and organs. The liver can especially build up a lot of toxins since it cleanses so much of what our body processes. I've even read opinions that this could be one of the many reasons why breast cancer has become so rampant...we, as women, carry extra fat tissue in our breasts, therefor we may have more toxins stored there. Just a theory, but it resonnates well with my way of thinking. I studied with an herbalist for about a year and I know there are a lot of different herbs which can stimulate different cleansing in the body. Which herbs you would want to use can largely depend on what it is you are trying to cleanse...if you've been on certain medications or around particular environmental pollutants. Even something as basic as a back rub can release stored toxins/chemicals from your muscles...that's why you're supposed to drink a lot of water after a massage - to help flush the toxins from your system.

Just thought I'd put in my thoughts on the subject....
There are some really good books out there about this. You may want to contact Rosemary Gladstar. I heard her speak a couple years ago and love her book on women's herbal. I think you can get her at sagemtnherbproducts.com.
good luck!
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
When I said "even water" I was refering to drinking large amounts of water 10 plus glasses of water per day to help cleanse the body. I recently read that the average person consumes about 2 glasses of water pure per day, that can't be doing much cleansing.

Of course I realize health food managers are in the sales business. I also believe that you can gather information from many sources. In my orginal post I stated I have an appointment with a Homeopath but was looking for some experiences from other people.

As I stated before I do think a healthy life style is best but one can't always avoid contamination that is why I believe detoxification can be helpful.

As for herbs being controversal for detoxification , well I think many things are controversal. Personally I like to think outside the box.

Pella thank you very much for sharing your thoughts! I was starting to think I had posted on the wrong website.
post #10 of 21
post #11 of 21
If "detox" is a myth, Then why are techniques such as chelation therapy, used for patients with high loads of toxic metal (such as mercury) used even in conventional medicine? Even traditional dr s acknowledge the fact that our bodies can store up harmful levels of toxins, and that there are methods to remove them. If any organization is a skeptic of medical "myths" it's our mainstream medical society here in the U.S.- and THEY prescribe certain detox procedures when needed.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the book suggestion, I will check it out tomorrow!

post #13 of 21
Becky, chelation originated I think in the 1920 or 1930s to treat really large doses of contamination in industrial workers. Who were very symptomatic to put it mildly. The validity of chelation therapy for these purposes is not disputed. The agent if I am not mistaken is injected into the bloodstream where it binds the metal. Does it apply to removing metals from the fat tissue tho?

"Detox" originated earlier as a way of cleansing the body from the - I believe we would all agree on that - mythical self-contamination arising out of day-to-day life . The concept was then medical. A similarly preposterous idea is that by eating foods in wrong combination the body produces toxins, which later have to be removed by colonics etc, or the diet changed to a strained and unnatural (meaning unlike what we see in peasants' eating patterns from the world over) regimen of "food combining". So I guess if we change the term from the detox with its bad reputation to sth else, we might all agree more.

On the subject of breast cancer, it seems to me that the vast decrease in incidence due to long-haul breastfeeding points to a hormonal reason more than to anything else. I agree tho that breast cancer is actually different types of cancer and many factors are involved.

With chemotherapy, short fasting might make sense since it increases appetite (I guess like THC but without any substance intake involved), and that's so very important. As for fasting after some kind of strange food experience, that goes against the grain (literally speaking) for me. It also reminds me of old (again, nothing forward looking here, just old, old practices - and I've seen so many people cleanse, fast, drink their own urine, drink their boiled-down urine, self-clean their GI tract, do all of this and take herbs in addition, take homeopathics in addition, eat one food one day, another food another day, - oh I can't even list all the things people did, it was so popular) premises regarding limiting the physical self. Sort of indulgence - pay for it by balancing with restraint type of thinking. This certainly has not been proven right - think sex frequency here, no health benefits from limiting, despite what the old medical profession believed. So when fasting is recommended, I would question what the underlying thinking is. If the "pay for sth" is lurking even remotely behind, a red flag - again, for me.
post #14 of 21
Wait a minute!!!!!!
All these nasty chemicals DON'T stay in my body when I 'm exposed to them???? Holy cow....I'm going to start smoking again and I'm loading my lawn with herbicides....I want the lush green golf-course look. I mean if all I have to do is drink water to flush this crap out, why worry???
I don't mean to be snotty, but I don't think it's reasonable in the face of the mainstream AND alternative research to say that detoxing is a waste of time. In the early 1900's when this was "fashionable" I agree it might not have been necessary. They weren't constantly exposed to things like BHT, nuclear waste, MSG, tartrazine etc. like we are today. When these things are taken into the body the head for the liver. If there is too much for the liver to process, it is sent to the fat tissue and stored until such time as the liver can handle it.
But maybe the detox agents don't work. Maybe the milk thistle research is all crap. But bubble baths don't have any medical benefits yet they make you feel sooooo good. They relax you, calm you and that in itself is so important. These detox agents might not purge all or any (I personally believe they do work) of the toxins from the human body, but if they make you feel good, and they do no harm why not do it? I doubt many poeple here would argue that putting some herbs into your diet is a good idea.

Just my thoughts on the detox is a farce concern!!!
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

I don't believe "detox" has a bad reputation except perhaps in your mind. You have read all kinds of negative and bazarre things into my original post and I find that disturbing. I asked if any one had and experience on using herbs as a liver cleanse you took to some strange level. You seem to be stuck in the early 20th century and I am truly sorry for that.

Fasting does NOT increase the appetite and I resent the fact you are trying to lay claim to the reasons my personal oncologist recommended fasting for me. I can assure you that it was not in response to chemotherapy and lack of appetite. It is a complete MYTH that fasting increases the appetite. I am sorry but I have to say it is clear you have no experience in any of these areas, I find it odd that you are so negative.

Thanks to all the others for your insightful, open minded and considerate posts!
post #16 of 21
Just thought I'd mention Dandelion Root and Burdock Root are really good for women as a daily "cleanser". They're very gentle and help rid the organs of built up stuff (especially in the morning after a long period witout water to flush things automatically). Add Raspberry Leaf and Clover Blossoms and you add a lot of beneficial minerals as well. Mint is good to add flavor.
I'd check about the Dandelion or Burdock if you're pregnant, though. I can't remember any details and I'm 2000 miles from all my books at the moment.
post #17 of 21
Tricia's mommy:
I have read that bitter greens and bitter tasting foods stimulate the liver to produce bile and get things moving more (?). In the American diet we largely avoid bitter tasting foods, unlike the Europeans (so I am told), so making an effort to eat more bitter greens like arugula and stuff like that are recommended. For a while I was taking a few drops of black walnut tincture in water-now that is seriously bitter!!

Also, I believe Dr. Weil (www.askdrweil.com I think) has written that taking a drink made of fresh lemon juice, and olive oil first thing in the morning, followed by lots of water helps clean your liver. He has many great books and they are easy to find at libraries and stores.

Now can I ask you about fasting? Can you recommend a book or give further guidance on it? I am still nursing my babe at night and in the AM but it seems like it might be OK to fast for 24 hours at least. What do you think? Also, is it even worth it to fast for such a short time? I used to love the feeling of fasting.
Thanks, Mary
post #18 of 21
I have recently been on a cleansing/detox program. I, too believe that "stuff" does build up in the body despite our best efforts to be healthy. We don't have total control of our environment.
Anyway, I have not felt this good in 3 years. The program included some supplements, eating only whole foods, no animal products, no wheat. It also used fasting. I drank a mixture of water, lemon juice and maple syrup on the total fast days. If you want any more info, feel free to pm me.
post #19 of 21
Dandilion Root and Burdock are OK when you are pregnant, but fasting and hard-core cleansing are not. Tricia already said she isn't preggers though.....

Watch out with the red clover, it does have some hormonal effects that might be contraindicated.

Were I to feel like taking detox herbs a "cleanse" I'd probably go with dandilion and burdock, along with something soothing like chickweed or calendula. I'd infuse them, and take about 1 c. of the resluting extremely bitter infusion along with a whole food vegetarian diet for 2 weeks max. (I don't recommend a totally veg diet for long-term health, but it is very good for the short-term)

Definately, cleansing can be harmful if not done well, too much psyllium and similar laxatives can really deplete you, so watch out.

Just getting more Burdock into your life is a good thing, it's a really great food. I like to cook it into rice, in my pressure cooker. I cut it into quarter-sized pieces and sautee it with garlic, onion, carrot, ginger, and fennel seeds, maybe cumin and coriander, mustard seeds, cinnamon, saffron, something like that, lots of ghee, and add the rice and water or broth, and pressure cook like regular rice. It's really yummy. You can do it in a regular pan, but the burdock stays crunchier and fibrous......

It's a great post-partum dish, without the onion and garlic, and with half again as much water as you'd use normally.
post #20 of 21
Bubble baths are not a innocent indulgence - they disrupt the good flora and may be irritating. Long-lasting hot baths is sth I like but they are not good for the skin. Alas.

I have always known that bubble baths are not good for women, which is why I do not buy it for my dds so that they do not associate it with childhood pleasures, with the sense of leisure, and not crave them as adult women.

However, as Dr Fleiss has written in two different articles in Mothering (on sleep and uncirced boys), bubble baths are also not good for boys.

That was a revelation for me.
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